Culver City Observer -

By Bill Seals - Fred Altieri
Sports Reporters - PFWA Members 

2021 NFL Power Rankings – Week 8

Rams Remain at #2, Chargers Hanging On at #11

 

October 28, 2021

Mackenzie Hudson - LA Chargers

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert prepares for Patriots in this Sunday's game at SoFi Stadium

1. Arizona Cardinals (7-0): The Cardinals had a yawner on Sunday against the Texans, wining easily 31-5. Newly acquired tight end Zach Ertz caught three passes for 66 yards, including a 46-yard pass for a touchdown from quarterback Kyler Murray. Next: -6 vs Green Bay Packers - Thu, Oct. 28 – O/U 50 (ATS: 6-1 – O/U: 3-4)

2. Los Angeles Rams (6-1): One day after their win over the Lions, the Rams traded starting inside linebacker Kenny Young to the Broncos for an exchange of 2024 draft picks. The Rams receive a 2024 sixth round pick from the Broncos, while the Broncos receive a 2024 seventh round pick from the Rams. The trade amounted to a salary dump, saving the Rams $1.3 million in salary. Next: -14.5 at Houston - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 47.5 (ATS: 4-3 – O/U: 4-2-1)

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-1): The Buccaneers were without Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski on Sunday, and it did not matter. They crushed the Bears as Tom Brady threw the 600th touchdown pass of his career. Next: -5.5 at New Orleans Saints - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 50.5 (ATS: 3-4 – O/U: 4-3)

4. Dallas (5-1): Quarterback Dak Prescott is expected to play on Sunday after suffering a calf injury on the last play of the previous game against the Patriots. Calf injuries take time to recover from and Prescott would be wise to sit this game out. Next: -1.5 at Minnesota Vikings - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 55 (ATS: 6-0 – O/U: 5-1)

5. Green Bay Packers (6-1): The Packers extended their current winning streak to six consecutive wins after their victory over the Washington Football Team. They face a huge challenge this week when they travel to Arizona for a Thursday Night Football game. Next: +6 at Arizona Cardinals - Thu, Oct. 28 – O/U 50 (ATS: 6-1 – O/U: 2-5)

6. Buffalo Bills (4-2): The Bills remain the favorite in Las Vegas to win the AFC Championship. The oddsmakers are not clairvoyants, they just look at the future schedules. The next three opponents for the Bills are the Dolphins, Jaguars, and Jets, three teams with a combined record of 3-16. With only two teams on their remaining schedule with winning records, they should be the favorite. Next: -13.5 vs Miami Dolphins - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 49.5 (ATS: 4-2 – O/U: 3-3)

7. Las Vegas Raiders (5-2): The Raiders moved into first place in the AFC West with their impressive victory over the Eagles. They are tied with the Bengals, Titans, and Ravens for best record in the AFC West at 5-2. The Bills and the Chargers are tied at 4-2, having both played one less game than the other four teams. Next: Bye – Following week: N/A at New York Giants - Sun, Nov. 1 – O/U N/A (ATS: 4-3 – O/U: 4-3)

8. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2): Unlike the Chargers the week before, the Bengals were prepared for the blitz packages that the Ravens threw at them and shredded the weak Ravens secondary in a rout of the Ravens in Baltimore, 41-17. Quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns, while wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase caught eight passes for 201 yards and one touchdown in the division win. Next: -10.5 at New York Jets - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 42 (ATS: 4-3 – O/U: 2-5)

9. Baltimore Ravens (5-2): One week after the Ravens crushed the Chargers, their secondary issues remerged in a 41-17 beatdown from the Bengals. The Ravens gave up 416 passing yards to Burrow and three touchdown passes in the stunning loss. Next: Bye – Following week: N/A vs Minnesota Vikings – Sun, Nov. 7 – O/U N/A (ATS: 3-4 – O/U: 4-3)

10. Tennessee Titans (5-2): Running back Derrick Henry was held to under one hundred yards, but he did manage to throw a five-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver MyCole Pruitt in the Titans blowout win over the Chiefs. Next: +1 at Indianapolis Colts - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 51 (ATS: 5-2 – O/U: 4-3)

11. Los Angeles Chargers (4-2): The Chargers added wide receiver Andre Roberts off the waiver wire and cut K.J. Hill. Roberts was a Pro Bowl selection from 2018 through 2020 as a kick return specialist. The move was made to improve field position on kickoff and punt returns, which has been an issue for the Chargers this season. Hill was later added to the Chargers practice squad. Next: -5.5 vs New England Patriots - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 49 (ATS: 4-2 – O/U: 1-5)

12. New Orleans Saints (4-2): The Saints won an ugly football game on Monday Night in the rain in Seattle, 13-10. Linebacker Demario Davis led the Saints on defense with 10 tackles, 2 sacks, and 4 tackles for loss. Next: +5.5 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 50.5 (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 2-4)

13. Kansas City Chiefs (3-4): The Chiefs lost to the Titans 27-3 on Sunday, in a game that was not as close as the score indicated. The Chiefs trailed at halftime 27-0. The Titans called off the dogs in the second half and even let the Chiefs score three points. Next: -10 vs New York Giants - Mon, Nov. 1 – O/U 52 (ATS: 2-5 – O/U: 4-3)

14. Cleveland Browns (4-3): It appears that backup quarterback Case Keenum will start this week against the Steelers. Keenum is a solid backup with good experience. He has started 63 games in the NFL, thrown for 14,619 yards in his career, and 76 touchdown passes. Next: -3.5 vs Pittsburgh Steelers – Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 42.5 (ATS: 4-3 – O/U: 4-3)

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3): The Steelers had the week off to rest and get well. They are headed for a tough matchup in Cleveland this week against the Browns. In the AFC North, where the Bengals and Ravens call home, the loser of this game would fall in last place and will have an uphill battle for the playoffs. Next: +3.5 at Cleveland Browns – Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 42.5 (ATS: 2-4 – O/U: 1-4-1)

16. Minnesota Vikings (3-3): The Vikings are coming off their bye week and will welcome in the Dallas Cowboys for a Sunday Night battle on Halloween. The Vikings are talented 3-3 football team. They do not want to leave this game a talented 3-4 football team. They need a win. Next: +1.5 vs Dallas Cowboys – Sun, Oct. 31 – 55 N/A (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 3-3)

17. New England Patriots (3-4): The Patriots have scored 108 points in their last three games and appear to be improving under rookie quarterback Mac Jones. He has completed 70.4% of his passes and is on a pace to throw for over 4,000 yards in 2021. Next: +5.5 at Los Angeles Chargers – Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 49 (ATS: 3-4 – O/U: 3-4)

18. Denver Broncos (3-4): The Broncos have now lost four in a row after starting 3-0. The Broncos will get wide receiver Jerry Jeudy back off injured reserve this week and his return should help the Broncos offensively. Next: -3 vs Washington Football Team - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 44.5 (ATS: 3-4 – O/U: 2-5)

19. Carolina Panthers (3-4): The Panthers have lost four straight games after opening the season with three consecutive wins. The issues are not on defense, where the Panthers rank No. 3 in total defense in the NFL and No. 2 in pass defense. Next: +3 at Atlanta Falcons - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 46 (ATS: 3-4 – O/U: 2-5)

20. Seattle Seahawks (2-5): The Seahawks are close to done for the season and they look like a franchise that is circling the drain. Without quarterback Russell Wilson, who is out with an injury, the Seahawks have looked offensively inept. Wilson may again ask to be traded and the Seahawks do not own a first round draft pick in 2022 due to the trade for safety Jamal Adams. Next: -3 vs Jacksonville Jaguars – Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 43.5 (ATS: 4-3 – O/U: 1-5-1)

21. San Francisco 49ers (2-4): The 49ers need to get things in order before the season slips away. The Niners do not have a first or third round pick in the 2022 NFL draft due to trading up to acquire rookie quarterback Trey Lance. Whatever the 49ers thought they were accomplishing with that trade, it has not helped this season. Next: -4 at Chicago Bears – Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 39.5 (ATS: 1-5 – O/U: 3-3)

22. Chicago Bears (3-4): Rookie quarterback Justin Fields had five turnovers in the blowout loss to the Bucs on Sunday. Fields has been sacked 22 times in six games. Fields is last in quarterback rating. The Bears might want to get Fields some help before he ends up being the next David Carr. Next: +4 vs San Francisco 49ers - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 39.5 (ATS: 3-4 – O/U: 1-6)

23. Washington Football Team (2-5): Quarterback Taylor Heinicke rushed for 95 yards against the Packers, but on a third-and-goal in the third quarter decided to dive for the goal line despite the nearest defender being a few yards away. Because he is a quarterback, Heinicke was ruled down where he began to dive. A fourth-and-goal sneak by Heinicke failed, leaving the WFT with no points on the drive. Next: +3 at Denver Broncos – Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 44.5 (ATS: 1-6 – O/U: 4-3)

24. Philadelphia Eagles (2-5): The Eagles are struggling and are headed for another losing season. That might not be the worst thing that could happen to the Eagles. The Eagles own the Dolphins first round pick and combined with their own first round pick, could end up with two first round picks in the top ten of the 2022 NFL Draft. Next: -3.5 at Detroit Lions – Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 48 (ATS: 3-4 – O/U: 3-4)

25. Atlanta Falcons (3-3): Tight end Kyle Pitts, the 4th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, is starting to get it and he looks like a future superstar. In the win over the Dolphins, Pitts caught seven passes for 163 yards, his second straight game of over 100 yards receiving. Pitts was the first draft pick of new General Manager Terry Fontenot. It is always good to nail your first pick as a rookie GM. Next: -3 vs Carolina Panthers – Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 46 (ATS: 3-3 – O/U: 4-2)

26. Indianapolis Colts (3-4): The Colts have a two-game winning streak after their win over the 49ers in San Francisco. Former USC wide receiver Michael Pittman had four receptions for 105 yards and one touchdown to help lead the Colts to victory in the pouring rain. Next: -1 vs Tennessee Titans – Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 51 (ATS: 5-2 – O/U: 4-3)

27. New York Giants (2-5): The defense of the Giants held the Panthers to 173 total yards of offense in the decisive 26-3 win over the Panthers. The Giants had six quarterback sacks in the game, an interception and ten quarterback hits. Next: +10 at Kansas City Chiefs – Mon, Nov. 1 - O/U 52 (ATS: 3-4 – O/U: 3-3-1)

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5): The Jaguars announced the loss of wide receiver D.J. Chark for the season due to a fractured ankle. Chark made the Pro Bowl in 2019, when he caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. Next: +3 at Seattle Seahawks - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 43.5 (ATS: 2-4 – O/U: 2-4)

29. Miami Dolphins (1-6): The Dolphins have lost six straight games. The Dolphins are among the teams that are looking to acquire Texan quarterback Deshaun Watson before next Tuesday's trade deadline. If this trade does come to fruition, it spells the end for second year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Next: +13.5 at Buffalo Bills - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 49.5 (ATS: 2-5 – O/U: 4-3)

30. New York Jets (1-5): The Jets lost another game and they lost rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, who suffered a knee injury and will be out for 2-4 weeks. The Jets traded for Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback Joe Flacco on Monday. Flacco played with the Jets last season. Next: +10.5 vs Cincinnati Bengals - Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 42 (ATS: 1-5 – O/U: 3-3)

Brevin Townsell - LA Rams

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford prepares to throw with offensive tackle Rob Havenstein providing protection against the Lions last Sunday at SoFi Stadium

31. Houston Texans (1-6): The Texans are a bad football team. They are on a six-game losing streak and it looks like they are getting ready to start rebuilding for the future, beginning with a possible trade of quarterback Deshaun Watson. Linebacker Whitney Mercilus and wide receiver Andre Roberts were released last week. More moves are expected before next week's trade deadline. Next: +14.5 vs Los Angeles Rams – Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 47.5 (ATS: 3-4 – O/U: 3-4)

32. Detroit Lions (0-7): Lions General Manager Brad Holmes attended the Oregon-UCLA game on Saturday afternoon at the Rose Bowl, and he got a closer look at Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, who is the likely No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Thibodeaux did not disappoint, with two sacks, eight solo tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. Thibodeaux was named National Defensive Player of the Week by Pro Football Focus for his performance in the game. The PAC-12 named Thibodeaux Defensive Player of the Week in the conference for his play in the game. Next: +3.5 vs Philadelphia Eagles – Sun, Oct. 31 – O/U 48 (ATS: 4-3 – O/U: 2-5)

 

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